Ali Smith has won the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for her incredible novel How To Be Both.
The novel tells the stories of two characters: a contemporary British teen and an Italian Renaissance artist. It was published in two versions, half of the copies beginning with the contemporary story and half with the Renaissance story.
How to Be Both was joined on the shortlist for the award by Rachel Cusk’s Outline, Laline Paull’s The Bees, Kamila Shamsie’s A God in Every Stone, Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread and Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests.
How to Be Both
by Ali Smith
Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith’s novels are like nothing else.
How to be Both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s.
Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.